CULTURE WITH A RAGTIME BEAT
Music, the performing arts, fine art and elegant architecture contribute to the heritage of this Texas Main Street City. So does its location, and visitors can’t resist posing for snapshots on Photographer’s Island, with one foot in Texas and the other in Arkansas. The “island” is in front of the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, which serves both states. The monumental structure completed in 1933 was designed by local architects Witt, Seibert and Halsey in the Beaux Arts style; the base is constructed of pink Texas granite, the walls of Arkansas limestone. An earlier federal courthouse has been restored as the home of The Regional Arts Center, which hosts national touring and juried shows, concerts and special events. The oldest standing brick building in the city dates to 1879 and now serves as the Museum of Regional History. Exhibits range from Caddo Indian displays to the Victorian era and beyond. A special treat is the interactive musical exhibit dedicated to Scott Joplin, the “Father of Ragtime Music,” whose youthful talent was nurtured in Texarkana.
The performing arts take center stage at the Perot Theatre, which began life in 1924 as the Saenger Theatre. The fully restored Italian Renaissance-style structure hosted Will Rogers and Annie Oakley in the past and now welcomes national and international performers and Broadway touring productions. One of the more whimsical architectural features in town is the Draughon-Moore Ace of Clubs House. Legend says Confederate veteran James Draughon won $10,000 in a poker game drawing the ace of clubs, and built this elegant, 1885 home in the shape of a cloverleaf, mimicking his lucky card. The Italianate-Victorian structure has 22 sides and has been extensively restored as a museum; its rooms provide a glimpse of Texarkana high society between 1880 and 1940.
Texarkana boasts a state cultural district designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Explore all they have to offer on your next visit!